In an interesting turn of events, industry veteran Brian Fargo, has managed to secure the funding for his passion project, Wasteland 2, through most unconventional means. During the last few years, Fargo frequented established publishers in an effort to find someone who was willing to take a chance on his Wasteland sequel. No dice, however. The idea of developing a successor to the hardcore 1988 RPG in these modern times, was met with considerable resistance. Even though it’s ‘uncool’ for ‘The Man’ to reject an obviously talented man such as Fargo, it’s hard to blame them when a-dime-a-dozen iOS games sell just as well or better than games that require a little more thought or effort.
Fargo, however, wasn’t prepared to give up just yet. On forums and through twitter, fans were constantly clamoring for a sequel to Wasteland. Maybe there was demand for an IP that had been dead for over twenty-years? Along came Kickstarter, a new platform that allows a large variety of people and projects to seek funds directly from the people that would normally be buying their products further down the line. Inspired by Tim Schafer‘s recent succes to fund Double Fine’s new adventure game with the help of Kickstarter, Fargo thought to try his hand at seeking crowd funding for Wasteland 2 as well. Amazingly, he succeeded. Last week, InXile Entertainment (Fargo’s company) reached their $900.000 goal in less than 48 hours, in what can only be described as a heart-warming show of support by fans of a lost era of video games. The current number stands at over 1.2 million dollars, and there’s still 30 more days to go.
This presents us with a kind of paradigm shift in the way video games are funded. I admit, it’s a little too early to tell (Wasteland 2 is set to release in October 2013 and there’s no telling how or if it will turn out), but this could have far reaching implications for the balance of power between developers, publishers and gamers themselves. As focus group testing and projections of marketability are eradicated from the proces of making video games, we could be looking at a kind of democratization of the video game industry. For now though, I’m extremely happy with the possibility of a sequel to Wasteland and I’m proud to say I chipped in $50 the moment their page went up.
Head on over to Wasteland 2’s kickstarter page and become part of history.